There’s a long list of individuals and corporations who understood the reality and dangers of climate change, and chose to steal the future from humanity for their own profit. At or near the top of that list is Exxon, and everybody they made rich over the last 40 years or so. That money belongs to humanity, and the resources it represents will be needed if we’re going to survive.
The lawsuit being brought by Our Children’s Trust is part of trying to get back some of what was stolen by forcing the U.S. government to take action on climate change, and re-allocate its funds and power as a result. It’s a good start, but it’s only the beginning. As ecosystems enter the final stages of their collapse, industries are dying too, and taking whole ways of life with them. Other victims of this crime are starting to fight back.
On Wednesday, associations representing California crab fishermen […] filed suit against 30 fossil fuel companies seeking to make the companies pay for the harm global warming has caused to California’s fisheries. The suit demands that petroleum interests finance the changes that will be needed to sustain the crab fishing industry in the future.
I’m not sure how they plant to sustain crab fishing, short of shifting the whole industry to some sort of aquaculture setup, but even if it only acts as a bandaid, a victory would make future, more large-scale lawsuits much easier. Massive changes have been underway in the world’s oceans for a long time now, as much of the heat trapped by rising greenhouse gases is then absorbed by the water. It’s hard to tell, from above the surface, what effects that has, aside from making stronger storms, and higher sea levels. If we look at the crabs, though, we can see that the change is a big one.
Starting in 2015, crab fishermen have had to contend with dramatically shortened fishing seasons because the warming of ocean waters has caused huge algal blooms along the Pacific coast. The blooms were blamed for causing a buildup of a neurotoxin, domoic acid, in the crab population, making the crabs potentially poisonous to eat.
The start of the 2015 crab season, usually in November, had to be pushed back until the following March. The season was shortened in 2016 and 2017 as well. This year, the crab season will be allowed to open as usual, on Thursday, but one section of the northern California coastline will be closed for fishing.
These changes are going to keep happening, and they’re going to get worse, and more obvious as the years progress. This effect has been visible in industries like fishing or maple sugar, but those are just the canaries in the coal mine.
We have the know-how and material resources to build a society that’s capable of thriving in an unstable, warming climate, but right now Exxon and all the other self-interested wealth hoarders who robbed our future aren’t just refusing to stop stealing from us, they’re insisting that they have no obligation to repair the damage they’ve done.
This is not a surprise. They’re thieves, and they’re still profiting from it. It’s up to us, the responsible citizenry, to enforce the basic rules of “don’t kill or steal” that underlie a functional society. They’re not going to stop being horrible people, they’re just going to call for us to “not play the blame game” and “just move forward together”, as they’re doing in response to this lawsuit. These people will happily let food rot in their storehouses rather than give it back to the people they stole it from.
Well, summer is coming in a way we’ve not seen, and if we’re going to survive, we can’t indulge their money fetish anymore.
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